The 2018 Lineup
Executive Director – GOA
Erich Pratt is the Executive Director for Gun Owners of America, where he’s more than made his own name over his legendary father, Larry Pratt. Besides his many duties running GOA and lobbying Congress, Erich has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as NBC’s Today Show, MSNBC, CNN, CBS and Fox Cable News. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country, including USA Today, and he is the author of “Bearing Arms: Our Rights, Our Duties & Our Freedoms”, and a civil government textbook, “The Constitutional Recipe for Freedom”.
Tara Dixon Engel
Director of Strategic Development – APHF
Tara Dixon Engel is the Director of Strategic Development for the American Police Hall of Fame & Museum in Titusville, Florida. She is a four-time commercially published author, an award winning script writer, television personality, and prolific public speaker. Tara also holds numerous NRA instructor certifications, is deeply involved in the women’s firearm movement, and is the author of The Handgun Guide for Women and editor of the digital magazine Home on the Range. She is the wife of a retired sheriff’s deputy, the daughter-in-law of a police lieutenant, and the mother of an officer in the United States Army.
Mark Keith Robinson
“I Am The Majority”
Mark Keith Robinson, the man who has become known as “I AM THE MAJORITY”, is a law abiding citizen who lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. On April 3, 2018 he gave a four minute speech in front of his city council on the Second Amendment that was passionate, deep in meaning, and went viral on YouTube. If you haven’t see it, you need to. In making this possible, we also gratefully acknowledge and thank Kel-Tec for covering his travel expenses.
Director of Member Affairs – Florida Carry, Inc.
Steve Merrette is the Secretary and Director of Member Affairs of Florida Carry, Inc, Florida’s largest, independent, nonprofit 2nd Amendment rights group. He is an Air Force veteran, life member of Florida Carry and the NRA, and holds memberships in several other pro-Second Amendment groups. Steve is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor and Range Safety Officer, Glock Armorer, and SIRT Certified Instructor.
Hickok45 is an internet shooting sensation from Tennessee, with over 3 MILLION YouTube subscribers. He’s best known for his drama-free, “family-friendly,” next-door-neighbor type videos on his YouTube and Full 30 channels. Watching them is like sitting down with your dad, grandfather, or best friend while watching and learning all sorts of incredible stuff about shooting and firearms. In 2016 YouTube shut down his channel for alleged “policy violations” but then quickly reinstated it later that same day – no doubt due to the immediate alarm raised by millions of subscribers and other top YouTube celebrities like Iraqveteran8888 and tnoutdoors9.
Founder – Open Carry Texas
CJ Grisham is the founder of Open Carry Texas, a nonprofit corporation that is a strong advocate for gun rights in that Great State. He has served as the organization’s president since its founding in 2013, and makes frequent appearances on behalf of the organization both in public and before the Legislature. He and his organization played a major role in the passage of the the 84th Texas Legislature’s open carry and campus carry legislation. Open Carry Texas is currently fighting to pass constitutional carry legislation and end gun free zones. CJ is a retired Army first sergeant and counterintelligence special agent.
Pastor Terry L. Howell
Living Water Fellowship
Pastor Terry L. Howell is a gifted speaker and an ordained minister with The Assemblies of God. He began Living Water Fellowship in November of 2000 which continues to grow with over 1400 parishioners. Pastor Howell has always been a believer in the Second Amendment, and on December 30, 2014 that belief was put to the test when a terminated employee tried to shoot Pastor Howell multiple times with a .45 caliber pistol. The shots barely missed, leaving gun powder burns on his face. In self-defense, and in defense of his staff, Pastor Howell returned fire with his legally carried firearm, saving his own life and the lives of his workers and parishioners. Although certain he was going to die, Pastor Howell had the will to live and survived the fight. At sentencing, Pastor Howell forgave his attacker in open court. His church now has one of the most extensive and well trained church security forces in Florida. Pastor Howell continues to believe in the right to carry firearms for self protection and we welcome him both as a speaker, and as the giver of the opening invocation.
Director of Law Enforcement Training – APHF
Paul Pawela is recognized as one of a very few elite firearms, weapon, and self defense trainers in the country. He is a Graduate of the FBI Hostage Negotiation School, Smith & Wesson, H&K, SIG Arms Academy, NRA Police Firearms Instructor Schools, is certified as an instructor in Jeet Kune Do and Kali, and is recognized as one of the foremost knife instructors in the nation. He retired from the Military 10th Special Forces Group (ABN), was a Military H Instructor Identifier & SOCOM Hand to Hand Combat Instructor, Former Team Leader and Tactical Trainer QRF for Counter Terrorism and has worked with all Special Operations Forces including: US Army 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta Force, and Seal Team Six, and later served in law enforcement. Aside from teaching classes for Tactical Prep, Paul is the Director of Law Enforcement Training for The American Police Hall of Fame, an instructor and CEO of Assault Counter Tactics, and lead firearms instructor for American Warrior. A true legend in both the practical and instructional community.
Grassroots Director – Liberty Hangout
Kaitlin Bennett is an outspoken conservative activist who became a viral sensation and face of the gun rights movement at Kent State University when she did a purposeful, on campus protest carrying an AR-10 on her shoulder after her graduation. The protest was over the fact that students could not possess firearms on campus, but any other adult could – including open carry of all types of firearms. Kaitlin has since been featured on Fox and Friends, CBS, NBC, the Washington Post, BBC, and other outlets across the world to discuss her activism to legalize campus carry, and is working with state representatives and members of Congress to work on campus carry legislation. A fierce proponent of the Second Amendment, Kaitlin is also the Grassroots Director of “Liberty Hangout” which has chapters in universities across the United States. You can follow Kaitlin on Twitter or on her Facebook page “Kait’s Unsafe Space“.
Shooting Straight Radio Show
Royce Bartlett is the host of the Shooting Straight Radio Show on WMMB Radio. The show has been on the air since 2013, and is the highest rated weekend show on WMMB. Every Saturday from 2pm-4pm he’s heard not just in the United States, but all over the world. Royce is extremely active in the shooting community, is NRA certified, has trained with some of the top instructors in the United States. He’s the co-founder and owner of RTBA Training Group, a civilian firearms training company. He’s currently writing a book, A Right So Wronged, that exposes all gun/arms control worldwide as being rooted in bigotry and racism. The book is scheduled for publication in 2019.
Founder – Guns ‘N Ammo Unlimited
Mark is the “official” rally sponsor with the State of Florida. When all efforts to find event insurance failed, and it looked like we would have to cancel the rally – Mark was the only person who stepped forward, and immediately said “I’ll take responsibility,” even though we explained the liability aspects of being a sponsor without event insurance. He said the Second Amendment was more important than the risk involved. Mark earned an A.S. in Film Technology in 2001 from Florida Metropolitan University, received numerous firearm training certificates, is NRA, USCCA, and Glock certified as an instructor, and is the co-owner and founder of Guns ‘N Ammo Unlimited, LLC, which trains a large number of students in the art of firearms handling and related disciplines. He also shoots competition. His passion for guns and safety is second to none, and his favorite saying is “a responsible firearm owner is always learning.”
Jon H. Gutmacher
Author and Former Firearms Attorney
Jon H. Gutmacher is considered by many as the leading legal authority on Florida firearm, weapon, and self defense laws. He is a former felony prosecutor, police legal adviser, and criminal defense attorney with a concentration in firearm related cases and civil police liability issues. His book, Florida Firearms – Law, Use & Ownership, is often called “the bible” on Florida firearm laws, has been in print over 25 years in 9 editions, has sold over 230,000 copies, and is the model for all books of its kind throughout the nation. Jon is currently retired from the practice of law, but still very active in all phases of the Second Amendment. He writes a monthly legal column for law enforcement, and is NRA certified in a number of disciplines. He has served as referral counsel for the NRA, GOA, USCCA, American Firearms Industry, and Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network, and has been featured on national and local television and radio as an expert on firearm and weapon issues, including ABC’s Nightline. He is on the Board of Advisors for CCW Safe. Jon is our rally organizer, and also serves as master of ceremonies at the July rally.
Founder – Operation Blazing Sword
Erin Palette is a long time Second Amendment supporter, who obtained her Florida CWL in 2012 to protect herself from violence after coming out as a transgender. She believes that Second Amendment rights, and LGBTQ rights are both basic human rights. In the wake of the Pulse Nightclub Massacre, Ms. Palette saw there was a desire within the LGBTQ community to learn more about armed self-defense, but there was also a substantial reluctance to buy a firearm, or receive firearms training due to the perception that gun owners hated them. To counter this mindset, she founded Operation Blazing Sword. Operation Blazing Sword matches gun interested LGBTQ people with friendly, tolerant and welcoming gun owners willing to instruct them in the basics of firearm safety and operation, without cost. The result is an organization that has gone international, with over 1,500 instructors in all fifty states as well as Canada and Australia, welcoming people of all races, genders, and sexualities into the family of responsible gun ownership. Erin has since appeared on NRA TV’s Cam and Company on multiple occasions, and has been a speaker at the annual Gun Policy Rights Conference put on by the Second Amendment Foundation, and proves the concept that the Second Amendment “is color blind and gender neutral. It either protects us all, regardless of our differences, or it protects none.” We welcome Ms. Erin Palette as a valued member of the Second Amendment community, and a powerful voice in its support. Her mission is a testament to the diversity of the Second Amendment, and that it welcomes all into its protections.
Luis A. Sterling
Executive Director – Ezekiel 317
Luis wears many hats, but perhaps the most important is his leadership as Executive Director of Ezekiel 317, an educational training organization dedicated to teaching the evangelical and other church communities, their staffs and their parishioners the essentials of safety watch programs, church security, CPR and first aid response, firearms training, protection of key church figures, and usher programs. All of this with a deep belief in God, and the Second Amendment. Luis is also an Adjunct Instructor at Valencia College in Orlando, served in Operation Desert Storm, has a law enforcement background, is an NRA certified instructor, and is fluent in both English and Spanish. His organization provides a number of seminars to the church and general public in the Central Florida area. Their watchword is “Protecting the Flock” – a charge Luis takes very seriously.
Music and Entertainment
Jesus Factor – Havana, FL
Gene will be opening the rally from noon until 2:00 pm, with some country and Christian rock great solo guitar and voice renditions. He is an experienced local guitar player and vocalist from Havana, Florida. He’s played professionally most of his life in a number of local bands including Live Bait, Southern Exchange, and currently a Christian Rock Group Jesus Factor, and Paradigm Shift. Gene also plays a professional solo acoustical act called GeneZone, and his material can be found on both ReverbNation and YouTube. He’s donated his time and talent as a believer in the Second Amendment, and we are proud to have him. Come early and listen to a great singer/guitar player.
Recording Artist – Nashville, TN
Krystal Walters is a gifted country western recording artist, who is our soloist for the National Anthem, and will also play an original country song later in the rally. She was born in Kansas but raised in Southwest Florida, and released her first solo record album, This Ain’t Kansas back when she was only seventeen years old. As a Nashville Recording Artist, Krystal has been a musician all her life, and attended music school at both Florida Southwestern State College and Florida Gulf Coast University. Major performances include headlining charity events for the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen Foundation, as well as performing the National Anthem for such notables as the Boston Red Sox, Florida Everblades, and Fort Myers Miracle. She is a staunch Second Amendment supporter, and her numerous original recordings can be found on YouTube, and iTunes, including a real favorite of ours called Hindsight. She’s volunteered her appearance for our rally, and we’re proud to have someone of her caliber and talent.
Christian Music Artist
Joshua Taylor has gone through many changes in life, but has always had a love of music and the need to express himself in song. He originally attended and graduated seminary in North Georgia with the dream of serving the ministry, but as fate would have it his work with youth groups led him into joining a number of Christian music groups, and that led to eventually traveling all over the country singing with them. Along that journey he met his wife, started a family, and then heard the call of service with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, where he served honorably for thirteen years as a Deputy Sheriff. In the interim, Josh has performed for a number of political and other philanthropic events, and recently began recording an album in Nashville of his own songs scheduled for release in the fall. Josh will be our closing appearance at the rally, and I can tell you he has one amazing voice and talent. It’s a talent worth waiting for.
While not technically a “speaker,” the Utah Gun Exchange “Freedom Tour” is joining up with The Big Pro Gun Rally. Their signature BearCat APC will be at the rally if we can get an okay from the State. The Utah Gun Exchange is a popular Utah firearms training, sales, and Second Amendment organization that puts on a number of events in their home state. Bryan Melchior, a co-owner of the Exchange put together a crew that has followed and appeared at every event that “March for Our Lives” has put on this summer. We welcome their participation and dedication.